Zakhele Lepasa of Orlando Pirates celebrates goal with teammates during the 2023 MTN8 QuarterFinal match between Orlando Pirates and Sekhukhune United at the Orlando Stadium, Soweto on the 12 August 2023 ©Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

Zakhele Lepasa inspired Orlando Pirates to a comprehensive 5-0 win over Sekhukhune United at the Orlando Stadium on Saturday night to get their MTN title defence off to a cracking start.

Scoring five goals in two games, Lepasa completed a stunning hat-trick against Babina Noko in what was a memorable outing for the Bucs fan favourite.

The reigning MTN8 champions started the game on a positive note and held most of the ball during the first 10 minutes of the game.

However, the hosts battled to break Sekhukhune down in the final third and produced little notable goal scoring opportunities.

In response to Pirates’ pressure, Babina Noko looked to get into the game with patient build-up from defensive positions. However, the Buccaneers continued to press high and made it difficult for the visiting outfit.

Pirates took the lead in the 21st minute of the match, as Zakhele Lepasa got his name on the scoresheet yet again. After intricate passing on the edge of the Sekhukhune box, Patrick Maswanganyi made way inside the danger zone before squaring the ball to Lepasa, who guided the ball home from close range.

The Buccaneers played with confidence and swagger after taking the lead, much to the delight of the supporters at the Orlando Stadium.

With the half coming to a close, Babina Noko made little inroads toward the Pirates goal and played under the cosh for much of the half.

In a late flurry of attacks, Pirates ended the half on a high and came close to doubling their advantage on a couple of occasions.

Relebohile Ratomo caused problems inside the Sekhukhune penalty area and saw one of his efforts hitting the upright.


Sekhukhune were awarded a penalty just five minutes after the restart as the referee spotted an infringement by Paseka Mako on Chibuike Ohizu inside the box. In stepping up to the spot, Ohizu’s shot hit the upright, keeping Pirates’ goal advantage intact.

Moments after missing the penalty at the one end of the pitch, Pirates doubled their tally in the 56th minute. After a quick transitional move from the half-way line, Monnapule Saleng drove the ball inside the area and let off a shot that hit the upright which ricocheted toward Lepasa, who guided the ball home.

The Buccaneers carved the Sekhukhune defence open shortly before the hour mark as Ndabayithethwa Ndlondlo joined in on the fun. In starting a passing move around the center circle, Ndlondlo finished the move inside the Babina Noko area with a well-taken goal.

Pirates added a fourth in the 62nd minute, with Monnapule Saleng joining, Lepasa and Ndlondlo as the chief attackers on the night.

In having a go at Badra Sangare, the goalkeeper’s saved effort bounced back into the area while Saleng was quickest to react by slotting the ball away.

The home side were awarded a penalty in the 77th minute, after Deon Hotto was fouled from behind inside the Sekhukhune danger zone. Looking to complete his hat-trick, Lepasa walked up to the spot and skied the ball over the crossbar.

Nevertheless, Lepasa eventually completed his hat-trick in the 86th minute as Pirates took advantage of poor defending by the traveling outfit. Found by Hotto in the 18-yard-area, the Namibian squared the ball to the Bucs star man, who put the ball into the back of the net with ease.

Marching into the semifinals, Bucs eventually ended the game as 5-0 victors at home.

Orlando Pirates 5
Lepasa 21’ 56, 86’ Ndlondlo 58’, Saleng 62’

Sekhukhune United 0

Orlando Pirates: Chaine, Monyane (Shandu 90’), Sibisi, Xoki (Maela 90’), Mako, Ndlondlo (Makaringe 74’), Monare (Makhuala 77’), Saleng (Hotto 76’), Maswanganyi, Ratomo, Lepasa

Sekhukhune United: Sangare, Ntiya-Ntiya (Masiya 64’), Cardoso, Gyimah, Mobbie Bwalya (Mosadi 76’) Mokotjo, Webber, Mbokoma (Vilakazi 45’), Ohizu, Mokwana (Thutlwa 45’)

© Backpage TXT


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